The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Zach Duke makes his season debut this evening against the Houston Astros. Duke, who has been on the disabled list since spring training, was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the off-season.
With the double header this past Tuesday, a sixth starter was needed this week. Duke was really the only candidate, as long as he was deemed healthy enough, to pitch this evening. He comes off a very shaky rehab start last Monday in Reno where he gave up 5 runs in only 5.1 innings. It is the type of results Duke was getting in spring training as well before his injury.
This will be Duke’s chance though to try to wiggle his way into the starting rotation. However, with the way the rotation is going right now, Duke may still be the odd man out. Micah Owings, the fifth starter, for now, had a decent outing on Thursday night in Colorado. If Duke pitches well this evening, I could plausibly see a scenario where Duke slides into the rotation and Owings moves over to the pen as a middle to long relief guy.
If Duke flops tonight, then the Dbacks may have some decisions to make. A lot will depend as well on Duke’s health, not just his performance. I hope it all works out for him in the end, but right now I’m skeptical Duke can provide what the Dbacks need in order to continue the roll they’ve been on.